Friday, 18 February 2011

Hurt Locker (2008) - Epitome of overhype

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow (still haven’t seen Point Break but have only heard good things), written by Mark Boal, who also wrote In the Valley of Elah.

Not doing the usual lot of questions because it was a bit of a fail film for me. Just gonna ramble on a little

Finally came through LoveFilm despite it being one of the first films on there (about a year ago). It obviously came with all the baggage of having won best film at the Oscars. I should disclaim that even having not seen it, I wanted Avatar to win, as it just seemed a bigger movie event, which will be remembered for decades, whereas Hurt Locker just seemed it would be forgotten, as much more sophisticated texts dealing with the Iraq war obfuscate its significance. Already I would say that something like the TV series Generation Kill is much more apt to deal with the subject matter. It's one of those things that reinforces my taste for films that are either trashy, pulp genre, with all the mythic pop-culture significance, or at the other end of the spectum, pretentiously obscure. Films in the middle rarely get me as hyped, which is where I think the Hurt Locker sits; not big enough to be cool, not real enough to be genuine. The Iraqi kid was by far the most interesting element, but for a genuine look at post invasion Iraq, I would rather watch Mohammed Al-Daradji's Son of Babylon or Bahman Ghobadi's Turtles Can Fly.

The characters all seemed so obvious and wooden. The British characters in particular were so cliched, typecast and unengaging. I really cannot see how it was awarded best film.

Rant over.


  1. C'mon! Its a damn good film! AVATAR would have been so boring as a winner ... not to mention the similarity it has to a best picture winner two decades prior...

    Then again, I haven't seen IN THE VALLEY OF. ELAH or any of the Iraq war films u mentioned...

    Jeremy Brenner is brilliant too

  2. I should clarify something that somebody brought up on Twitter. I didn't want Avatar to win overall, just because it was really between the two of them. I think District 9 (I know your thoughts on District 9 Simon), An Education, Up in the Air and Up were all better than both of them. And, shame on me for having not seen them yet, but I am sure Inglorious Basterds and A Serious Man are far superior to any on the list.
    Out of the ones I've seen I prefer An Education.
    Looking down last years best pictures though, I really think that this year is so much stronger.
    The films I mentioned are less about the actual war really, and more like just post invasion life in (or near) Iraq.
    I know that your opinion is popular, I don't know why I had such a negative reaction to this and such a positive reaction to Avatar, a film that I know is riddled with cliche and ripped off of numerous existing plots; I was just quite charmed by it, in the same way I often am by whimsical kids' films - guess that says a lot for its sophistication.

  3. I'm essentially with you on the subject of middle brow cinema. Give me long takes or give me pulp. In terms of the Hurt Locker, I wasn't as down on it as you, though I think it lacks depth and any pretension to it being a commentary on US involvement is rather mitigated by the dreadful last shot of him walking along with the metal on in the background. Having said that, I think the bomb scenes are very good. Point Break is pretty ridiculous, by the way, though it's got an entertaining romanticism about it, I suppose